Prologue: 03

Pon could barely see the ground at all. Perhaps that was all that was making him nervous. That, and not the way the forest sounds seemed muted and strange, or how the shadows seemed to spin at the edges of his vision.

Pon reached into his satchel, and his fingers closed about the hard, reassuring smoothness of the wheel-stone he had stolen from his father. He pulled out the talisman, and let it dangle from its leather chord: a polished roundel of soap-stone with a hole drilled through its center, a talisman to the god of his nation. “Naobel.”

The wheel turned around its chord. Once. Twice. White light glimmered across its surface, and shadows pulled back from Pon’s peripheral vision. He breathed in.

Pon lengthened his strides, the talisman before him, and letting its small light drive away his fears. He knew he couldn’t depend on the wheel-stone. Its power would soon fade to superstition if he went  much further down the mountain. “Got to give up superstition in wizard school,” he muttered. “Word-wizard…gonna be…”

The stone’s glow flared, and winked out.

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